Project category: New construction (completed August 2002)

Chief administrator: Bill Bradley, Chief Executive Officer, (479) 463-5003

Firm: HKS, Inc., (214) 969-5599

Design team: Craig Beale, FAIA, FACHA, CHC, RIBA, Principal-in-Charge; Norman Morgan, AIA, Design Principal; Jeanne Erickson, AIA, Planner; Robert Robbins, AIA, Designer; Tim Solohubow, AIA, Project Architect

Photography: Ed LaCasse

Total building area (sq. ft.): 346,000

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $185

Total construction cost (excluding land): $64,142,000

The Washington Regional Medical Center is integrated into the context of gently sloping farmland. The existing site featured a log farmhouse, a spring-fed natural pond, two creeks, and large hardwood trees. The challenge was to preserve these features and incorporate them into the healing environment of a unique medical facility.

The main entry showcases a high, curving atrium lobby and waiting area with a grand stair leading to the dining court. The open atrium provides the visitor and patient a sense of tranquility. The atrium spills out into a landscaped courtyard with a flowing water feature. Landscaped walking paths with seating areas meander around the perimeter of the building, and a walking/jogging path encircles the entire campus. A meditation labyrinth is located adjacent to the natural pond.

The medical center has been caring for hearts in Northwest Arkansas for more than 50 years. In 2002, through a generous gift from the Willard and Pat Walker family, its dream of comprehensive cardiac care was realized with the opening of the Walker Family Heart and Vascular Institute. Today, the institute performs more than 6,000 surgical, diagnostic, and interventional procedures each year. In addition, the institute provides comprehensive education outreach and cardiac rehabilitation programs.

From the onset of the project, the overall design goal was to incorporate state-of-the-art medical care and technology into this pastoral setting. The completed Washington Regional Medical Center is the achievement of a healing environment prepared to accommodate the 21st century.